I am now a mom of five. This astounds me when I say it but it also feels like it has always been this way. I ironically find myself doing a headcount and automatically think "there should be more to my headcount" (no, don't get any ideas) but so far I'm doing graciously, optimistically, okay with five kids.
God's mercy. Don't pedestal me. I promise it's nothing more than His grace and mercy.
If you know me, then you know I am as transparent as glass. I rarely hold back what's really happening but I truly try to discern it through "God glasses" and see His plan in the midst of it all. So that means sometimes you hear the things that are difficult and hard and you see me trying to find Jesus in it.
The hard eucharisteo.
Yes that's a preface.
This work is hard. I'm not overwhelmed. I need Jesus every second. If I look at the week or month that lays before me, I do feel overwhelmed. If I listen to a screaming tantrum for too long, then I get overwhelmed. If I take my eyes off of the King, I get overwhelmed. But on the whole. I'm okay. I'm seeking joy in the midst of this whole learning to be a family thing. And I'm finding it.
I'm finding it when God shows me that this two year old boy entrusted to my care, who screams and throws tantrums with fierceness and loudness and longevity, who crawls up in my lap and speaks in baby gibberish...that he is reverting back to some earlier phases of his life when he wasn't babied. He is learning how to displace his confusion and frustration over lack of control over his circumstances. He is begging with me to please give him boundaries because that's how he knows he is safe and I am trustworthy. God in His mercy shows me those kinds of things when I listen.
I'm finding joy as I watch this puzzle of a 4 year old who has endured more tragedy and upheaval in his short 4 years than any child should have to endure, ever. He is resilient. He is strong and brave. He is a fighter and a protector. Right now he is unsure if we are trustworthy or not. He is unsure if we will pay attention to him or if he will get to do what our other kids do because he still sees himself as an outsider. He is fiercely protective of his brother because he has been taught by life that if he doesn't protect them, no one else will. In the midst of him yelling Me too! Mama! and the arguing and hitting phases we have endured the last two weeks...I have nothing but grace for him. I see his fragile state. "Like a caged and wounded animal" I told the big kids. My joy comes from him saying, "I love you" and "Mama" even though I know those words may lack true meaning right now, I know that eventually he will understand them and only through our consistency with him.
We are watching the uncertainty in them. Our 2 year old having screaming nightmares where he wakes up screaming and wets himself. Our 4 year old latching on a little too easily with other adults and sharing his uncertainty about where "home" is. All of these things are in the palm of God's hand. All of them. And we cry out for redemption, for peace, for healing, for wholeness in Jesus' Name. And I know in my heart that it will come.
My big kids. Gosh I love them. I wish I could explain how I feel when I think about them. My heart literally overflows. Today they went with me to drop some things off at a consignment sale and I took them to lunch. We laughed and we talked and we loved each other. And it was good. Joy. We talked about how they are and how they feel and I believe wholeheartedly their words: "This ain't nothin mom. We got this." They know Who we lean on. They know Who our boys need. They have had their moments of frustration and they are learning with this curve too. But they are amazing and feel the sense of calling and purpose in this just as Dwayne and I do.
And the baby. Joy is her middle name actually. And despite her very firm opinions about sleep and eating and if someone takes away her toy...she is a JOY. Truly a joy. 1000 different facial expressions she has. She knows how to parrot with the best of them. She loves the "up down" game. Much to my dismay. It's a phase. It will pass quickly, as they all do.
Last, but certainly not least, my husband. Amazing gift of a man. Undeserved gift. He took two days of vacation last week to help and bond and be with us. We went to the museum and ate pizza and went to the fair and church and did lots of laundry. He let me sleep in and go away by myself a few times. There is no one I would rather run this race with but him. He truly shoulders this with me and serves me better than I could ever ask for or imagine. I love him more than words.
So, each day is new and different right now. We are learning. We are leaning. We are watching and waiting and praying. We are seeking joy.
And my God is faithful. He is ever so near.
This song is really blessing me right now: